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Convert Physical Machine to VM Image on USB drive

Hi guys and gals,

We have a physical machine that runs some software the company needs 24/7 and we need to make a backup from. It is on dated hardware and if it ever dies we'll need the ability to run it as a VM temporarily until a replacement box arrives and be set up.

I need to make a VMWare ESXi 5.5 compatible image of the physical machine, but save it direct onto a network share or USB drive for storage. I don't see a way of doing this without involving the ESXi server which I've been asked to avoid by superiors. This is essentially a short term disaster recovery scenario for when we need the image, just in case.

Can this be done?


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VMware Employee
VMware Employee


The answer is almost. If it is a Windows machine, you can convert it to hosted (i.e. Workstation/Player/Fusion) which simply requires some data volume as destination (what you want). The 'almost' part is that if you want to run it on ESX, you'll need to convert again because the vmdk formats slightly differ. If it is a Linux box though, then you are out of luck.



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